By Wendy Sarubbi | August 13, 2013 4:35 pm

library groupIncoming first-year medical students at the UCF College of Medicine kicked off their first day of orientation with a gadget that will greatly enhance their education over the next four years. All 120 members of the class of 2017 received their own iPad mini, that will provide them with online textbooks and other educational software on a device that will fit into their white lab coats.

The college’s Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Sciences Library handed out the iPads in the largest distribution since the digital learning program began in 2010. That year, the medical school’s first 100 students received iPads as holiday gifts from a local philanthropist, the Ginsburg Family Foundation. “Ipads were new on the market at that time, and people saw the potential, but weren’t quite sure what they could do with the technology,” said Library Director Nadine Dexter. But the donation helped the UCF College of Medicine become a national leader in digital medical education. Today, 4 textbooks are available on the tablets. Using technology, students  can take notes right in the “virtual” book, zoom in and out of the pages, watch videos of specific patient cases and even compare and share notes with classmates through a special social media feature. Health databases like DynaMed and Epocrates allow students to quickly look up drug and disease information from an approved and accurate source. Students can buy books by the chapter, reducing the cost of expensive textbooks, and don’t have to carry around heavy books or a laptop.

library bags“It’s very interesting to listen to students talk about how they’re integrating the use of a tablet into their daily learning style” Dexter added. “From taking notes to answering email and pulling up library e-books and articles, they’ve gotten pretty creative.”

The medical school’s library is 98 percent digital, and its motto is “information anywhere, any time, on any device” because digital material means students don’t have to be in the library to access information. The class of 2017 is the first to get the mini version of the iPad, which the library team hopes will be more convenient to carry and navigate, especially in clinical settings.

Many of the new first-year students had heard about the library’s iPad learning program, and were delighted to learn they were receiving their tablets on the first day of orientation. “It’s definitely one of the factors I took into account when choosing my medical school,” said first year student, Sean Chagani. “I saw students walking the halls looking through CT scans and x-rays on their iPad. I thought it was a really cool, innovative way to essentially take your work home with you.”

Other students are looking forward to using the tablet to lighten their everyday load. “It’s definitely a step forward in education in terms of its technology,” first year student Brandon Hendrix said.  “In undergrad, I would spend hundreds of dollars on giant textbooks. Now I’ll have them on the iPad, which will be a lot more convenient.”

iPad Mini Distribution (VIDEO)












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